Ruth King, 71, has always been active and involved. She worked in the design industry, volunteered frequently and played on three different tennis teams around Atlanta.
Around 2013, though, she began experiencing pain that limited her mobility. Ruth was initially diagnosed with a back injury, but over three painful years, nobody could pinpoint the injury. Some doctors told her nothing was wrong.
“It was like nobody believed how I felt,” Ruth says.
She lost muscle tone and gained weight. The diagnosis finally came during a visit to a neurologist in November 2015. It was multiple sclerosis.
“It may sound funny, but I walked out of there saying, ‘Thank you, Lord!’” she recalls. “Finally, I had information I could act on.”
Ruth started researching MS facilities and quickly found one she was surprised to see – Shepherd Center. For years, she had been volunteering through her church’s monthly “Sundaes on Sunday” visit with patients in Shepherd Center’s Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Program. Somehow, though, she had never heard of the MS services Shepherd Center provides through the Andrew C. Carlos Multiple Sclerosis Institute and the Eula C. and Andrew C. Carlos MS Rehabilitation and Wellness Program.
“There are so many resources available to you,” Ruth says, “and so many knowledgeable, kind and positive professionals who helped me understand the need, not just for physical therapy and vocational counseling, but also for lifestyle changes, for rest, even for orthotics recommendations.”
After a thorough evaluation, Ruth began a wellness program that included strength training, balance exercises and time on the Alter G® treadmill. When she began, the former athlete could barely leg press 100 pounds. After six months of rehabilitation, she was leg-pressing 350 pounds. Ruth’s core was back. She was even planking.
Today, Ruth still comes to Shepherd Center’s MS Rehabilitation and Wellness Program once or twice a week. She also works out on her own, applying the exercises she’s learned. She is active again. She attributes much of this to her support team at Shepherd Center.
“It’s not just the physical work,” Ruth says. “It’s the camaraderie and support of both people working there and people working out there. It’s people who believe and understand what you’re going through.”
By Phillip Jordan
Shepherd Center, located in Atlanta, Ga., is a private, not-for-profit hospital specializing in medical treatment, research and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injury or brain injury. Founded in 1975, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 10 rehabilitation hospitals in the nation and is a 152-bed facility. Last year Shepherd Center had 965 admissions to its inpatient programs and 571 to its day patient programs. In addition, Shepherd Center sees more than 6,600 people annually on an outpatient basis. For more information, visit Shepherd Center online at www.shepherd.org